Dec 06 2014

In the Mailbag – Shipping, Residency, Nicaragua, and More

Our newsletters and posts generate lots of discussion, on our website, in emails, and on facebook. Here are some of the comments, with helpful information and questions, from our readers:


As a follow-up to both our article about selling our house in Baltimore and shipping 13 boxes to Costa Rica, and last newsletter’s “In the Mailbag” follow-up about shipping, Salli wrote:

Thank you for your great newsletters which have a lot of wonderful information.

This is the company that we used to move 18 plastic (Lowes) tote bins, 27 gal, to CR:

Air Cargo Operations



Toll Free Tel: 877-597-0258 Ext. 118 or 102

Toll Free Fax: 877-597-0259

Serving Wholesale Logistics Since 1991

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Member of FCBA, TIA, TIACA

IMPORTANT: All Charges are subject to weight & measure verification.

Visit our website:

They have a contact there named Betty Torres and they take everything through customs. I numbered each bin, wrote an inventory for each as Betty wants this to get the bins out of Customs. The Bins had handles on them and each was duct taped.

We downloaded the paperwork that needed to be taped to each bin before it was picked up at our home in Florida.The bins were loaded onto a pallet & then shrink wrapped as one load.

I packed the bins so there was no rattling when shifted. I used a lot of towels, sheets, eco-felt, clothes and crammed little items in the corners, down the sides so there was absolutely no room for shifting.

Some of the bins were beat up but a lot were in great shape and we now use them for water catchment, cow manure is in one and soil in another. One was given to our neighbor, Marta. A few in the garage. We have found uses for all of them. One is at the chicken coop for feed/etc.

My only regret is that we did not add 2 more & bring down some items that we ended up buying here.

Such is life. Pura Vida.

Salli & John”


And regarding obtaining permanent residency in Costa Rica, Scott M. passed on some really helpful info for all us us going through this process:

This month’s newsletter was excellent as usual, Paul and Gloria. Just one observation about the “comments from readers” section regarding Residency:

Linda and I found out that when the Migración online status application reflects that your resolucion is “Pending firma”, that you can personally go down to the Migración office (must be there before 10 AM according to the La Uruca Migración official), and go to the regular noticias/”status inquiry clerk” and ask that they pull your file and go ahead and sign your application while you wait.

Linda was able to do that with her application and after a wait of an hour or so, they pulled the file, the official signed the resolucion and handed it over to us. Avoided several months of waiting for them to sign and fax the resolucion as experienced in my (Scott’s) case. We advised some other expats of our experience and they reported that the process worked the same for them — saved them some delay also.

Don’t know if others have had similar experience as ours, but thought it might be worth passing along.

Scott M.”


Our posts about our October trip to Nicaragua generated a couple of questions from our readers. First, blaster_d asked:

All great “background” information. Real world type info that is much appreciated.

Did you partially go to Nicaragua to re-new your visa? How do you get around the 60 day visa requirement?

Does a temporary residency eliminate the requirement to leave Costa Rica periodically?

Is it possible to get a “permanent” residence status from the CR government should one decide to stay permanently?

Thanks for sharing your experiences to many!”

Hi blaster_d,

Glad you liked our article. We did not go to Nicaragua on a “border run” as it’s called when you renew your tourist visa by leaving the country and visiting Nicaragua or Panama. We are legal residents in Costa Rica so we are exempt from having to leave the country. Our status is currently as temporary residents but we have applied to be converted to permanent residents and should hear back in the coming months. Here’s a link to our article about that topic: But either way, as a legal resident, one does not need to leave the country periodically.

And from Don and Nan:

One thing that I have observed while traveling are the people. So, what are the people like? Not the ones that are polite as you are doing business with, but the ones on the street. Are they smiling, seem happy, clean, healthy looking? It is well and fine to move someplace to save some money, but you will be living with these people, so how are the people?

Thanks for your articles.”

Hi Don and Nan,

We agree completely that the well-being and happiness of the people are hugely important when choosing a place to live. And while saving money is important, that should never be the main factor when making such a big decision.

That being said, we found the people in Nicaragua to be much like the Ticos — very warm, friendly, and helpful. We also didn’t feel any anti-American sentiment which was surprising to us, considering the U.S’s. role in their history.

In general, the people get by with much less in Nicaragua, and they do what they need to do to earn money and survive. They are very resourceful. There were very few beggars on the streets that we could see. The people seemed to have pride in their appearance and the appearance of their towns as we saw very little trash in the streets. And most people we talked with feel safe and grateful that their country is on the up-swing. We were told on more than one occasion that the people are tired of war and violence and just want to live peaceful lives. We felt very safe there as well.

Thanks for such a great question

And on Facebook…

Paul posted our article about our monthly costs for rent, phone and utilities, which account for about 40% of our monthly cost of living. Lisa C. was nice enough to share her costs for the same items and allow us to post them here:

Here’s my two cents on living expenses here. I have a one bedroom new apartment about 5 minutes north of Tamarindo in the mountains. I don’t have an alarm system other than my loud dog. I found the graph noting Internet connection to be quite high. Tiga charges me only $20 a month plus another $25 for cable TV…that is the standard rate for most cable companies here. I took the graph above and inserted my own expenses in red.”


Thanks Lisa!

And Gloria’s article with 9 Tips to Find Your “Perfect Place” in Costa Rica generated lots of comments:

From Mary R. M.:

Jajaj:-) Lance and I often “pinch” ourselves because we are living a dream we often talked about:-) living a simpler life in a healthier country, making ourselves part of the local community. Today we head to feria for our volunteer work with PAWs. Lance will do our shopping with locals who will recognize him, call both of us by name, and have things set aside for us. The butcher will recommend his favorites to us, based on previous purchases. What a great way to spend our day:-) This was something I rarely encountered in Maryland or Pennsylvania. And all of this is with a smile and a hug:-)”

From Marty M.:

I move from the US to beautiful Costa Rica. I live in Nicoya, Costa Rica. It is a province, too. In this part of the country the culture is so very rich. There are traditions here that they’re the only ones who celebrate them in the country. I love everything about Nicoya. Tropical fruits galore. Currently, I am renting a house with a tropical fruit and vegetable garden. We have papayas, coconuts, star fruits, nonis, pineapples, ginger, mangos, lemons, oranges, banana datils, guinios, guayabas, guanabanas, and fruits I have never heard of. It isn’t touristy and I live close to the jungles and beaches (Gringolandia).”

And finally, from Nik:

I live in Heredia, near Barva, and I love it. Would like to get a bit higher up into the chillier climate, maybe San Rafael or Sacramento. I’ve lived in San Ramon, Curridabat, Jaco, Escazu, and then all over Heredia… definitely Heredia has been my favorite place, though I can’t really pin down why I like it so much. Least favorite place was Escazu.”

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